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The integrated writing section on the TOEFL

In: TOEFL iBT By: Meha Mittal

Let’s take a look at some of the aspects of the integrated writing section and break down some myths that might surface around this topic.
First the facts:  TOEFL essay should be anywhere from 150 – 225 words. You should start with a brief introduction followed by “Both the reading and the listening talk about ______.” After 3 moderate length paragraphs you should write a short conclusion. You should always leave 2 minutes for editing.
What haunts the minds of test takers about this question is “Which one matters the most: Reading or Listening”? To be quite honest, the prompt for the integrated writing will always go as follows: “Summarize the lecture, making sure to cast doubt (or compliment) points made in the reading.” Without a doubt this means that our main task is to summarize the lecture, adding relevant information from reading whenever required. Therefore the lecture makes the most of your essay and reading plays a supporting role.

Let’s move on to the other important aspects about this task. Which is a better way to write our essay: Point by Point or block format. Point by point technique organizes the essay according to details taken from both reading and the listening. So you make one statement about the lecture and provide either a point of similarity or difference to that point from the reading in the first paragraph. You continue the same technique for the second paragraph, the third, etc. In Block format you first write about the lecture and the other half you write about the reading. The details from each are not put against each other as in point by point. Block format is much easier than point by point. In a nutshell if you have a good understanding of the content of both reading and listening you should go for point by point but if are not confident block format is best for you.


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